Online Response Form

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List of answers to the specified question
NameOptionTextDate
Duncan Crane No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 12:00
Deleted User We cannot actively support any of the three options offered in the consultation document, but if large-scale development is seen as unavoidable, development within existing settlements and on brownfield sites (i.e. broadly Option 1) would be far preferable to the use of any part of the Green Belt (i.e. Options 2 &3), and would be more consistent with national planning policies.

Green Belt & alternatives
HWRA is vehemently opposed to building on Green Belt anywhere in Elmbridge. Sacrificing the Green Belt would be damaging and short-sighted, and is not the answer to alleviating the national housing shortage. Once lost, Green Belt cannot be replaced.

In Elmbridge, the peripheral Green Belt is central to preventing the borough from merging into the Greater London conurbation. If the north-eastern corner of the borough becomes indistinguishable from its built-up neighbour , the distinctive character of the borough would be irrevocably lost, and the quality of life for all concerned would be greatly diminished. Such an approach does not sit easily with the social, environmental and economic agenda which requires us to act sustainably so that future generations do not inherit an asset in a worse condition than that in which we inherited it.

Government policy is to concentrate development on existing settlement areas and brownfield sites before Green Belt can be considered. HWRA is of the view that these prescriptions have not been adhered to or explored resolutely enough. Specifically EBC argues that building on its 23 settlement car parks will deny space for parking, whereas a more intensive use could see low rise buildings offering both car parking and dwellings. Private owners of large car parks (e.g. Cobham Sainsbury’s) might be encouraged to participate in such a scheme, particularly where these assets are in flood zone 2. HWRA also favours the use of brownfield sites such as Molesey Heath, together with purchases of industrial sites from declining businesses and/ or compulsory purchases (e.g. Island Farm Molesey), so that these can be consolidated into strategic sites for housing essential workers on a variety of tenures. A change in the character of settlements is an inevitable consequence of progress and will be balanced by the permanence of the swathes of Green Belt remaining, further reinforcing their value to the community.
21 Mar 2017 11:49
Deleted User No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 11:49
Save Cobham Green Belt (Keith… Savecobhamgreenbelt does not consider that Option 2 is the appropriate as it is fundamentally flawed. However, both Option 1 and Option 3 are unrealistic and impractical. It is incorrect and misleading for Elmbridge to include in this first public consultation these 3 Options, which attempts to steer public opinion in one direction only, by putting forward for consideration two equally impossible and unrealistic options. The whole so called ‘consultation’ document is flawed and the subsequent questions are highly ‘loaded’. This proposal and documentation should never have been presented to the Residents of Elmbridge and the Council should insist on Arup repaying the £30,000+ in fees, due to it’s flawed methodology and analysis. Also, the Council must take some responsibility in the manner in which this piece of Consultancy work was briefed in Arup. In our opinion and the opinion of consultancy experts and some Councillors, the information provided to Arup was woefully wrong, steering them towards the conclusions they reached in respect to Weakly performing Parcels. Quite a coincidence they came up with three large Parcels of land, mainly owned by Developers and the Council whose scoring against the 5 Purposes of Green Belt were inconsistent with the rest of their scoring methodology. Residents could be forgiven in our opinion for thinking the consultants delivered what those who commissioned them were seeking to achieve ie Large areas of potential developable land for social/affordable housing with no regards for ‘Sustainability’. Option 1 is to maintain the Green Belt but to significantly increase densities in urban areas, develop green spaces and in order to satisfy the OAN figure of 9480 dwellings from 2015-2035 it would be necessary to build at densities of up to 300 dph or seven storeys high development. This option is clearly a non-starter and frankly we are surprised the Council has even considered putting it forward for consultation. However, the Council should have considered a more detailed analysis of the Urban spaces and shown what could realistically be obtained from developing these areas in a sustainable way. This work has not been done and needs doing. This should have been the Council’s starting principles. The council is aware of the forthcoming mandatory requirement to compile a register of all Brown field sites. Surely this should have been done in parallel with the ARUP work to provide a balanced view of potential solutions. Throughout the consultation work Elmbridge Council have continued to let site after site be developed for the wrong types of housing. Take areas such as behind Cobham high street, Oxshott below the high street, Holly Parade, the Ministry of Defence site towards Byfleet. Quite shocking that these and other Urban sites have been used for luxury housing whilst this plan has been put forward to destroy our Green Belt! Surrey Advertiser today has a front page story about the Stompound Lane planning application (comments are open re 2017/0080). This is for 54 homes on land in Walton sold by EBC to fund the controversial sports centre project. This comprises 32 five-bedroom homes, 9 three-bedroom homes, 2 two-bedroom homes and 11 one or two bedroom apartments. How 56% of all homes built will ever be social is beyond us. How can EBC ever possibly get to 70% soial/affordable when day after day they pass planning permission for when 60% - 100% 5bed houses! EBC have created their own problem, which they are now trying to unfairly land on Residents for 20 years of poor management of the new housing stock! For three years the Council have sat on a plan from Councillor Bennison to build above car parks, however the Leader of the Council last night explained that he was not aware of the details. Quite shocking! EBC have chosen to ignore solutions for far too long. Option 3 is also completely unrealistic, that being to satisfy the OAN figure of 9480 dwellings in full, by increasing densities where appropriate (this is agreed), and amend the Green Belt by deleting large areas regardless of any classification of assessed strength or worth. To achieve Option 3 would require very large parts of the Green Belt to be deleted and built on, which would destroy its concept and integrity, weakening it to such an extent that it would be open to even further erosion in the future. Once the Green Belt status is lifted the flood gates open and Elmbridge Council become Judge and Jury. In all likely hood the wrong houses will be built in the wrong places and Developers will win the day again and those in real need, will loose out to the commercial gains of others. Option 2 - However, Option 2 attempts to identify so called weakly performing parcels of Green Belt and then to identify within these parcels areas that are not subject to constraints or ownership problems. This however leaves a large outstanding deficit in the residual figure of 5780 dwellings. Elmbridge have calculated that if the so called developable areas are actually built on some 1720 dwellings can be built (at a density of 40 dph). This reduces the residual from 5780 to 4060. A further figure of building 2460 dwellings at a density of 60 dph is, we consider most unlikely. However, we are strongly opposed to Option 2 as we do not consider that these three key strategic locations in the Green Belt should be deleted. We do not consider they are weakly performing, in any case we do not accept that that there are any exceptional circumstances put forward which would allow loss of existing Green Belt and further we consider that the results of building 1720 + dwellings and upwards in Cobham, Oxshott and Long Ditton would be bordering on a disaster as the necessary infrastructure would not be forthcoming. To put it simply, One it would not be possible to alleviate the harm to the existing communities if these dwellings were built and two we do not consider that the huge financial costs to provide the necessary infrastructure could ever be raised by either Grants from Central Government, raising Council Tax or obtaining the money from the developers. The Surrey infrastructure Study 2016 is clear that there is a huge funding Gap in Elmbridge and even using figures that do not include the large increases in dwellings envisaged by Option 2 the deficit of some £161m is the third largest in the County and the figure as a percentage of costs is 28%, the worst of all 11 Districts. No consideration has been made in respect to Bordering Borough’s. A plan to build two thousand homes at the Wisley site is with a couple of miles of Cobham town centre!! Other bordering Councils such as Woking also have proposals to build on land within meters of Elmbridge. Mole Valley has just done so at Randell’s lane. It appears all Borough’s are targeting their far borders, which in essence hits the other Borough’s as much if not more, than their own. Wisley which is actually Horsley, next to the Black Swan pub will flood Cobham with thousands of new Residents. No consideration has been made of the Cobham Free School which will open next summer. 1200 new pupils will arrive at this site which is at the top of the Fairmile Road and Portsmouth road. Incredibly, this school has been positioned within a very short walk of the American Community School. From a road and infrastructure this is madness. On top of this Parcel 20 is within meters of both the existing school and the New one!! Parcel 14 is with a mile of this. Where does the word Sustainability come into play!? We also strongly question the possible required housing numbers. Other Borough’s have pushed their original numbers down significantly, however there is no evidence that Elmbridge has done this or that the number is correct especially considering employment in the Borough, movement into the Borough and Brexit. In all likelihood the number is hugely inflated and other more specialist Bodies are commenting on this. We will outline are reasons for considering that Parcel 14 is NOT weakly performing under Q6 below, and we will outline our case that there are no exceptional circumstances to support an amendment of the Green Belt under Q 5 below. In conclusion, we cannot support Option 2 (or either Option 1 and 3). What we suggest is that still more emphasis be placed on the URBAN areas. There are daily examples around Cobham and elsewhere where the Council has chosen to totally disregard these opportunities. We consider that by increasing densities in all parts of the Borough including less emphasis on matching existing character and densities, but with even greater emphasis on skilful design. We recognise this will not be popular with some residents but extreme problems require extreme solutions and creativity, something ignored by the Council so far. 21 Mar 2017 11:46
Save Cobham Green Belt (Keith… No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 11:46
Deleted User • I disagree that the provision of housing is an Exceptional Circumstance that should allow the destruction of our Green Belt, local environment and heritage.
• I see that the council’s own figures show that only 50% of the housing planned would be needed by Elmbridge residents.
• Once the Green Belt has been taken away it will NEVER be regained. This will result in further encroachment of countryside and removal of green spaces.
• The Council has not sufficiently explained or justified why it cannot build on brownfield land and a thorough assessment of brownfield sites should be the first priority.
• Increased urbanisation of major urban areas eg Walton. The Council should seek to develop social/affordable housing near to the major sources of employment and nearer to better service provision. Walton is the biggest urban development in the area and opportunities should be investigated there.
• Opportunities should be explored near to established fast transport links with easy transport access. An example would be the fast Woking/Walton/Esher line.
• Building social/ affordable housing in Parcel 14 is very unrealistic - this is one of the most expensive parts of Elmbridge and placing social/ affordable housing in this area will not meet the needs of those who need easy access to job opportunities and good public transport links. The railway service and station at Cobham/Stoke D’Abernon wouldn’t be able to cope with such a large increase – especially if 1,000 homes are built on Parcel 20, 1,000 on Parcel 14 and the development of 2,000 homes on Wisley Airfield go ahead.
• The Council has not demonstrated that it has sufficiently explored options with neighbouring boroughs.
21 Mar 2017 11:46
Deleted User No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 11:46
Save Cobham Green Belt (Keith… • NO. There should be clear other options. Urban still has huge potential as does Brownfield.
• Option 1 is far more sensible.
• An option should be to allow the Community to come up with a Plan which as a very last resort could be taking weak performing parts of say 20 Parcels instead of asking Cobham to take the majority of the pain for total Elmbridge.
• We disagree that the provision of housing is an Exceptional Circumstance that will allow the destruction of our Green Belt and heritage
• We understand that the Council’s own figures show that only 50% of the housing planned would be needed by Elmbridge residents
• Once the Green Belt has been taken away it will NEVER be regained. This will result in encroachment of countryside and removal of green spaces
• The Council has not sufficiently explained or justified why it cannot build on brownfield land and a thorough assessment of brownfield sites and Urban should be a priority
• Increased urbanisation of the more major urban areas in the borough. The Council should seek to develop social/affordable housing near to the major sources of employment and nearer to better service provision
• Opportunities should be explored near to established fast transport links with easy transport access. An example would be the fast Woking/Walton/Esher line
• Building social/ affordable housing on Parcel 20 is very unrealistic - this is one of the most expensive parts of Elmbridge and placing social/ affordable housing in this area will not meet the needs of those folks who need easy access to job opportunities and good public transport links, neither of which exist in this area
• The Council has not demonstrated that it has sufficiently explored options with neighbouring boroughs and taken into account plans from Guildfords and Mole Councils.
21 Mar 2017 11:14
Save Cobham Green Belt (Keith… No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 11:14
Birds Hill Oxshott Estate Co.… Yes, I agree 21 Mar 2017 11:06
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